G's winning bedtime ritual: steamy loud hour-long shower with sensory foam and soap. I load up on various scented shaving cream, shampoo, soap at my darling dollar store - best $2/week ever! G sings, describes, scripts, stims, giggles, SHARES while he smears and draws. He draws his favorite characters, names, people, places. I roam the general area to do daily stuff or laundry while he gabs away. Sometimes he has me guess at his creations, writing backwards for me to view on my side. At times I open the door to a quick facial/swoosh/slam and have him guess. Totally cracks him up. I try to think of visual puzzles about our day or upcoming fun, all positive happy thoughts to send him off to dreamland with delight.
With G's anxiety over the past 3 years, I've learned to adapt his regimen. Staying up all night or most of it, waking full out ADHD energy in the middle of the night - was not healthy for him and clearly left the family sleeplessly miserable. G deserves the peaceful calm that all children should feel before bedtime. His brain and nervous system don't know how to decompress. The old methods of reading or tv worked up his brain too much. Hot tubs turned into doggie getting dry skin from the nightly swim-a-thon, now only 2x/week. His nightly demand of backrub got to be too much, though I do have my relaxation massage down to 20 minutes in case of emergency in the wee hours. I had to dig deep to consider the many factors of sensory elements and their effects on G. I found a winning combination to throw into my big bag of tricks...
What ALWAYS calms G? Warm water. With the addition of soaps to waste - mix, pour, squirt - he expresses his thoughts, gets his wiggles out, gets squeaky clean. Foam is highly sensory - shake, whoosh, slather - and large motor swirls are great for stretching while he creates. The warm shower calms him, steam clears "our" sinuses and loosens his muscles to allow for smooth slumber. I'm free to get a few minutes of organization in for the next day, while getting quality quirky CREATIVE comforting time with my kiddo. Winner!
Art washes away from the soul the dust of daily life. ~Pablo Picasso
G's serious pose under Cloud Gate, a gloriously gleaming curvy bean of reflection in downtown Chicago. I found these fun facts about the sculpture, which answered my boys' questions about the "practicalities" of the bean. Geek on!
The Artist: Anish Kapoor.
Click around to view his funky sculptures around the world
Fascinating view into the artist's mind, art and backstory.
About his mirror sculptures:
"the space doesn't recede - it comes out at you ... a new sublime that's forward of the picture plane." ~Kapoor